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HER Number:MDV57179
Name:Wreck of the London, Rapparee Cove

Summary

Site of the wreck of the London which went aground in 1796. Early newspaper reports say she was bound from St. Kitts with a considerable number of French prisoners of war on board.

Location

Grid Reference:SS 528 478
Map Sheet:SS54NW
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishIlfracombe
DistrictNorth Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishILFRACOMBE

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SS54NW/147
  • Pastscape: 878080
  • Tide Project: 29/09/2020

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • WRECK (XVIII - 1796 AD to 1796 AD (Between))

Full description

LARNE, Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV84817.

The transport, 'london' carrying british troops and french pow's, lost in rapparee cove 9/10/1796 (larne).

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV84820.

Des=mills, a.(nd museums)/bones found at rapparee cove:summary of historical and archaeological evidence/(-/3/1997)/copy in pf.

Larn, R., 1974, Devon Shipwrecks, 210 (Monograph). SDV741.

Longhurst, J., 1978, Coins in North Devon (Correspondence). SDV84823.

The London is reported to have run aground on the Rapparee rocks during a storm in 1796, possibly October 9th. It was thought that the wreck was not entirely due to the storm and that the vessel was plundered by the locals who became known as Coombe Sharks. Coin find may be associated with the wreck.

Mills, A., 1995 - 2009, The Wreck of the London at Rapparee Cove, Ilfracombe - Summary of Historical Evidence (Un-published). SDV346521.

Site of the wreck of the London which went aground 10/10/1796. Early newspaper reports say she was bound from St. Kitts with a considerable number of French prisoners of war from the Caribbean campaigns on board. Around 50 prisoners were drowned. Lloyds list (no 2863) refers to the London sailing from St. Lucia. The reported number of people drowned vary between the news reports. Some of the reports also indicate that smugglers were responsible for the the ship being wrecked rather than the bad weather. According to a venerable witness, everything that could be saved was duly accounted for to those whom it concerned. As well as can be now ascertained, the valuables on board were contained in five boxes - there was specie, in doubloons, dollars etc. -one of which was lost in the transit from the ship and was no doubt broken up at the bottom oft he sea, as dollars and doubloons continued to be found in the sand years after the ship was lost.



See subsheets for possible associated finds.

Unknown, 1997, Maritime archaeology in Britain and Ireland 1996 (Article in Serial). SDV361583.

Rapparee Cove near Ilfracombe. Graves, bones and fetters exposed on the shore. Thought to belong to The London. Continuing 1997, 1998.

1997, Military Campaigns in the French West Indies (Unknown). SDV363864.

North Devon District Council, 1998, Restoring the Heritage of Ilfracombe Harbour. Business Plan, 11 (Un-published). SDV347082.

Collings, A. G. + Manning, P. T. + Valentin, J., 2007, The North Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Phase 1. Archaeological Survey. Summary Report, No. 1387 (Report - Assessment). SDV339712.

Site of the wreck of the London which went aground 10/10/1796. Early newspaper reports say bound from St. Kitts with considerable number of black French prisoners of war from the Caribbean campaigns. Approximately 50 prisoners drowned. Also reported as carrying British troops.

National Monument Record, 2014, Pastscape (Website). SDV355682.

1796 wreck of English barque London which stranded at Rapparee Cove during a storm, while en route from St. Lucia [also reported as being from St. Kitts] to Bristol. She was a transport vessel operating as a cartel ship with prisoners of war captured from St. Lucia.

Constructed of wood, she was a sailing vessel. For a burial site which may be associated with this wreck, or with others also known to have come to grief in the same area.

A mass grave containing the bodies of shipwrecked slaves has been uncovered on a beach beneath the cliffs of Rapparee Cove near Ilfracombe. An archaeological team has been excavating the site which in recent weeks has yielded up bones along with iron fetters.

The bones of more than 40 shipwrecked black prisoners buried in a mass grave on the north Devon coast are being reclaimed by the sea. An archaeologist who has spent 15 years researching the fate of the London, which was wrecked in Rapparee Cove 200 years ago, says sea defences have been allowed to fall into disrepair allowing storms to expose the grave. Pat Barrow, author of a book on the wreck, has recovered several pieces of human bone exposed by the storms in the last few weeks. The fate of the mass grave has horrified officials from St. Lucia, the Caribbean Island from where hundreds of prisoners were being transported to Britain in the 340-ton barque when it sank in 1796. Bodies from the wreck were buried in soft ground at the top of the beach beneath an 80ft cliff. The St. Lucia Governor's representative in Britain said: "We see the Rapparee as a powerful link between the history of our two countries and it is vital that the grave site is protected.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV339712Report - Assessment: Collings, A. G. + Manning, P. T. + Valentin, J.. 2007. The North Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Phase 1. Archaeological Survey. Summary Report. Exeter Archaeology Report. 06.22 (rev.1). A4 Stapled + Digital. No. 1387.
SDV346521Un-published: Mills, A.. 1995 - 2009. The Wreck of the London at Rapparee Cove, Ilfracombe - Summary of Historical Evidence. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV347082Un-published: North Devon District Council. 1998. Restoring the Heritage of Ilfracombe Harbour. Business Plan. North Devon District Council Report. A4 Comb Bound + Digital. 11.
SDV355682Website: National Monument Record. 2014. Pastscape. http://www.pastscape.org.uk. Website.
SDV361583Article in Serial: Unknown. 1997. Maritime archaeology in Britain and Ireland 1996. International Journal of Nautical Archaeology. 26.3.
SDV363864Unknown: 1997. Military Campaigns in the French West Indies.
SDV741Monograph: Larn, R.. 1974. Devon Shipwrecks. Devon Shipwrecks. Digital + hardback. 210.
SDV84817Migrated Record: LARNE.
SDV84820Migrated Record:
SDV84823Correspondence: Longhurst, J.. 1978. Coins in North Devon. Letter from Ilfracombe Museum, with Anonymous Report. Letter + Digital.

Associated Monuments

MDV57180Related to: Rapparee Cove Burials, Ilfracombe (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded


Date Last Edited:Oct 30 2020 11:09AM